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South Africa

Summer Internship Program

Session I: July 13-August 3, 2024

Program Overview

In Cape Town, we have built a Sport for Development Internship Program for students passionate about using sports to advance the prosperity of a local community. Students will intern for five days a week with one of the many innovative, non-profit organizations in Cape Town, while gaining a broad knowledge of the sport for development scene in South Africa. On the weekends interns will get to experience some of South Africa’s most exotic destinations.

Our South Africa Internship is open to both athletes and non-athletes of ALL majors!


  • Intern with one of our local partner organizations and earn academic credit through your school

  • Gain valuable hands-on experience to boost your resume

  • Enjoy Cape Town's vibrant city life, amazing beaches, and fascinating history

  • Make a lasting impact on the local community through your internship and service projects

  • Build friendships with other athletes from all over the United States

  • Discover South Africa with excursions to Table Mountain, Robben Island, Wilderness Beach, and a Wildlife Safari


  • Non-Profit Management

  • Social Work

  • Criminal Justice

  • Communications & PR

  • Government & Policy

  • Education & Coaching

  • Occupational Therapy

  • Exercise Science


Winner of the 2018

Innovative Program Award!


Program Description

We partner with multiple sport for development non-profit organizations in Cape Town to provide hands-on internships. On a daily basis, interns will dedicate the morning to a collaborative project with fellow SAA students and staff in a lab setting at Inyathelo: The South Africa Institute for Advancement. In the afternoon, students will visit their respective organization's site to help with  program operations and better understand the potential implementation of their projects.


Projects include a combination of supporting the organization's daily program operations and completing an independent project to address a specific challenge. Example responsibilities include event planning, website and social media management, digital and editorial content creation, newsletters system design, grant writing, monitoring and evaluating systems, partnership development, and sponsorship/donor research. For any student interested in healthcare, their internship project will mostly relate to our partner's occupational therapy program and other community health initiatives.

Housing & Meals

Athletics Abroad

Students stay in a locally-owned dorm-style guest house with other Student-Athletes Abroad interns. The guest house provides bed linen, bath towels, wardrobe, private bathroom, shared kitchen, and WiFi accessibility. Laundry is available once per week.


Students are provided breakfast and dinner seven days a week. Any dietary restrictions and needs will be taken into consideration. For lunch, students can pack their own lunch or purchase on-site at their internships.

You will have a gym membership at the Sport Science Institute of South Africa so you can maintain your training by working out 4-5 times per week.


Our local staff will take you on two weekend excursions which include: hiking Table Mountain, visiting Robben Island, adventuring on a Wildlife Safari, visiting beaches to see African Penguins, and a weekend away at Wilderness Beach. All meals and transportation provided during the excursions. 

Internship Information

Final internship placements depend on a variety of factors. We will do our best to place you with your top choice, however, the organizations have the final decision. Contact us to learn more about the placement process!



Sport for Development, also known as Sports-Based Youth Development, is a method to initiate social change in youth in underprivileged communities by using sports as a tool to bring people together and teach lifelong skills. Our partners in Cape Town all share the common belief that sports have the power to create positive peer-to-peer relations and stimulate a desire for self-improvement.

Each organization that we work with takes a unique approach to sport for development - whether it's a soccer program dedicated to teaching youth about HIV/AIDs awareness, a basketball program keeping kids away from gangs, or a boxing program teaching girls about self-defense and women's empowerment - all these programs share the singular vision that sports have the power to change the world, one community at a time.


Project Playground

Project Playground is a non-profit organization focused on bringing structured recreational programs to youth in neighborhoods that are systematically, socially, and economically deprived. Studies show that structured recreational activities contribute to the positive development of children and increases their motivation, concentration, and ambition. Project Playground reaches local youth through free after-school activities, sports programs, and support programs five days a week and currently serves over 750 children in three townships outside of Cape Town.


The Community Health Intervention Programs (CHIPs) was launched through the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) in 1997 in the Western Cape. The vision was to develop a program that was sustainable in its ability to improve various communities' participation in physical activity. Our primary focus is to offer sustainable lifestyle intervention program to create healthier (mentally, socially, physically), empowered (demystifying science, giving personal responsibility), cohesive communities. The CHIPs program runs successfully in 36 different communities around the Western Cape, through its HealthNutz, OptiFit Outreach and Live-It-Up program.

Great Commission United

Great Commission United (GCU) was founded by a reformed gang member from the Cape Flats neighborhood of Heideveld to keep local youth away from crime and gangs in the area. GCU provides the supportive family environment that youth often lack at home and are attracted to in gangs. Soccer, basketball, and other sports play an integral role in attracting students ages 5-20 to after school programs with life skills training, tutoring, and physical exercise.

Program Rates

Program Cost: $3,995


  • Accommodation in a shared guest house

  • Breakfast and dinner, daily

  • Local transportation to internship sites

  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure day

  • Two weekend excursions

  • Gym membership

  • International Health Insurance

  • SAA Program T-shirt

  • Internship placement and additional professional development opportunities

  • Local Support Staff 24/7

Not Included:

  • Roundtrip airfare to Cape Town, South Africa (CPT)

  • Passport and associated fees if you do not already have one

  • Lunch, daily

  • Souvenirs, snacks, and optional entertainment expenses


Enrollment Process



Complete and submit a free online application.


Schedule a phone call with one of our staff members.


Accepted students will be prompted to register through our online platform & make their initial deposit to reserve their spot.


Students will connect with their site coordinator to ask questions and learn more about the internship & course placement process.

Contact Us

Contact Us

Interested in more information? Have a question? Fill out our contact form and we'll be in touch shortly!

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